A Sussex, N.B., man is being treated for rabies after an unexpected encounter with a rabid bat in his basement.

"I went down my stairs and my cat was playing with something,” Jack Adair says. “Unfortunately, it was a bat."

When he swatted it away, the bat hooked onto his finger. Adair brought the animal to the Sussex Agriculture Building, where it was later sent to Ottawa for testing.

"Six days later I got a call from the doctor in Fredericton telling me to get to the hospital because the bat had tested positive for rabies," Adair says.

“While rabies occurs in bats across canada at a fairly low level, it's safe to assume any wild animal could be carrying the disease," says Dr. James Goltz, New Brunswick's chief provincial veterinarian. "Unlike rabid raccoons, bats are less likely to spread the disease."

While most bat species have been shrinking in the province, Dr. Stephen Justason says big brown ones have been expanding their population.

"They do roost in people's attics and basements, and they come into people's houses," says Dr. Justason.

After learning the bat was positive for rabies, Adair brought his cat to Dr. Justason for a booster shot. Luckily, Adair's cat was vaccinated.

"My main concern is that a lot of my clients have indoor animals and do not feel their animals are at risk,” Dr. Justason says. “This is an absolute example of why they are at risk for rabies."

Dr. Justason says rabies is a disease that kills and is something that should be taken seriously.

With files from CTV Atlantic’s Mary Cranston.